Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The first step

Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Kagan had a problem. As he told the Rebbe in Yechidus, "I feel like I'm a great guy." The Rebbe responded, "Start doing things to justify those feelings."

(source)

27 comments:

A Suede Ḥossid said...

It’s interesting that had he gone to some other people, they would give him mussar. They would tell him to bring his views of himself down to reality. And the Rebbe told him to raise the reality up to the level of his views.

Which is why he was different from everybody else.

Yossi said...

excellent

The Real Shliach said...

CA: Who was different, Rabbi Kagan or the Rebbe?

Yossi: I thought you'd like it.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Ah, the curse of pronoun–antecedent ambiguity.

The Rebbe.

The Real Shliach said...

Not that Rabbi Kagan wasn't also unique.

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.
That is one of the most fascinating interchanges between the Rebbe and a person I have read. The usual response, obviously not from a Rebbe but perhaps a therapist, would be to point out the flaws of such a positive feeling. ("you are out of touch with your true self and need a dose of reality." "look at your life, all the problems, you are in denial" etc. etc.) The Rebbe's response acknowledges the validity of the feeling while at the same time observing that it is not (yet) justified. What's interesting is that the afore-mentioned therapists only adopt the Rebbe's approach to negative feelings i.e., they must be acknowledged, admitted as realistic, etc. and the individual provided with a means to resolve them. Probably something to do with the fact that unhappiness is considered more "authentic" than happiness in contemporary society. Smiling bravely, LdT.

The Real Shliach said...

Excellent points.

Dovid said...

Good, good.

PS Last night Manis Friedman confirmed that LA is a much more desireable local than Minnesota.

PSS Why won't Yossi allow comments? When he posts something so tasty and interesting, how does he expect his readers not to eat and comment?!

The Real Shliach said...

Never trust a man who gets paid to talk.


Yossi was very affected by the Va'ad Shmiras Hadas Vhatarah, and wants to make sure that nothing happens to him.

e said...

Ltd: I beg to differ. Most therapists--most people--would think that feeling good about yourself is great. I'm sure Rabbi Kagen wasn't having any megalomaniacal delusions. He simply had the healthy self-esteem which the yeshiusdikeh modern society says is good for you.

sarabonne said...

Ah, my issue is convincing everyone else that I'm as wonderful as I know I am. Snort.
re. Yossi comments, I second that. When that dvar torah came up discussing Sara JESSICA emeinu, I was just dying to add a Parker at the end of it.

Anyhoo, nice story. Short and sweet.

The Real Shliach said...

e: As I'm sure you're well aware, there's a great difference between self-esteem and ego.

Sara: As you snort so well, "snort".

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

So I feel I'm a lazy bum...

e said...

what chassidus calls ego, other people call healthy self-esteem.

The Real Shliach said...

Modeh: does that make you feel good?

e: and what chassidus calls self esteem?

e said...

that's also good.

The Real Shliach said...

So basically, it's all good? That sounds like something I would say!

Anonymous said...

I don't get the brilliance. Whatever the Rebbe would have said would be ingenious, so what difference does it make what he said?

The Real Shliach said...

Huh? Since everything is Hashgocha Pratis, therefore we shouldn't do anything? Or at the very least we should never praise or criticize anyone, because after all, whatever happened would have happened anyway?

Anonymous said...

Right. It looks rediculous praising the Rebbe's ingenuity, if you would be just as enthusiastic if the Rebbe would have given a different answer.

The Real Shliach said...

Apparently you're saying that whatever the Rebbe says is praised, so therefore the praise itself is worthless.

Well, I have one word for you: Bogus!

Anonymous said...

Why is it bogus? You would be just as excited if the Rebbe told him that he should work on being mivatel his yeshus!

The Real Shliach said...

Would we? Who knows? Either way, it's bogus to say that because whatever someone says is praised therefore any praise of that someone is illegitimate.

Anonymous said...

As long as you are convinced.

The Real Shliach said...

:--

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Anon — the difference is between a comment of the Rebbe that we can appreciate and that we cannot appreciate. The point is not in our increased respect of the Rebbe, but in our increased connection to him through him having said something that resonates in our minds and souls.

For instance, take the story when somebody asked the Rebbe whether it’s appropriate for his son or daughter to marry a Black person. The Rebbe responded: “Torah is written in black-and-white.”


Plus, in this case, the approach of the Rebbe really was a chiddush. The approach of mussar would be to negate one’s feelings of superiority. If the Rebbe reiterated that approach, we would marvel on how well he has done so. But with the Rebbe it was rarely the case. When he reiterated, he reinforced. But in most cases, he didn’t reiterate; he introduced a new element whose relationship to the ideas preceding his was not evolutionary, but revolutionary.

This is most evident in learning the Rebbe’s sichos and ma’amorim and comparing them to those of his predecessors. When I have just started learning Chassidus, I had much more connection to Frierdiker Rebbe and Rebbe Rashab, because I was able to connect to their Chassidus — while the Rebbe I knew as an ohev Yisroel and a leader of the major kiruv program. But then I learned one of his Bosi LeGani’s and was blown away.

Anonymous said...

How do you know what the approach of Mussor is? Did you know any Balei Mussor? Where they influenced by Novorodik, Slabodko (and which permutation of Slabodko) or direct from Kelm? Or was it the Telsher version of Kelm? Was it Reb Yeruchem's Kelm?
Was it Reb Chatzkel's Kelm? Which take of Reb Yeruchem's was it; Reb Leib Malin's or Reb Shlomo Wolbe's?

Please tell us what you know about Mussor (which changes based on what the generation needs; see intro to Daas Chuchmo Umussor delinieatin the differences between Reb Yisroel, Kelm and Mir) before you confidentely assert what a "mussor" answer would have been.

And don't quote to me the Chabad drivel about Mussor. They only know a couple of sound bite snide remarks about it. They also confidentaly smear the "Peylisher" etc. without seriously studying the works of the great Polish Rebbes.

Chabad, more than any other group, is focused on "us versus them". It is common at a farby to make deragotory remarks about other segments in Judaism.